TACOMA, Wash. – Five young people, apparently fans of the rap/hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse, face felony charges in a series of violent attacks at Fort Steilacoom Park, and police in suburban Lakewood have warrants for several more people, the prosecutor in the case said Friday.
The attacks over two nights would begin with the assailants calling to each other: "Woo! Woo! Juggalo!" Pierce County Deputy Prosecutor Phil Sorenson said.
Fans of the group, which began in Detroit in 1990, call themselves "Juggalos." While some Juggalos wear black-and-white clown makeup, it appears none of those involved in the attacks did so, Sorenson said.
"They're not dressed as clowns but they tend to be wearing clothing popular with the Insane Clown Posse crowd ... some sort of clothing line that actually is featured by this group. And a lot of their clothing actually has clowns on it, some kind of clown insignia," he said.
Insane Clown Posse jewelry features a laughing clown with a meat cleaver. The group's albums include "Carnival of Carnage" and "Terror Wheel."
The attackers, carrying hatchets and machetes, beat and robbed people in the park on the nights of June 19 and June 20 and threatened some with decapitation, according to court records.
They sent some victims to the hospital, with injuries that include "at least one broken jaw, one broken nose and a broken face. One girl was apparently ordered to take her pants off but she managed to escape. ... They're very aggressive," Sorenson said.
Those in custody range from 18 to 29, he said.
A sixth man arrested with some of the others "does not have a role in the robberies, but is facing a drug charge," Sorenson said, after officers executing a search warrant at a Juggalo residence found white powder later determined to be methamphetamine in that man's room.
Search warrants were executed at three south Tacoma residences, Sorenson said. "So they're apparently leaving South Tacoma to do their dirt and then going home."
A call to police in suburban Lakewood, where the park is located, was not immediately returned.
Earlier this week in Pierce County Superior Court, Crystal Rosalena Hilliard, 19, and Daniel Joseph Barnum, 21, pleaded not guilty to three counts each of first-degree robbery and six counts each of second-degree assault — all felonies. Both were arrested July 7 and gave police the names of others, the court records state.
Anthony Derrick Pierce, 29, pleaded not guilty July 7 to the same list of charges. He told investigators he's been a Juggalo for years and that the groups have become increasingly ganglike, court records said.
Charged Friday with the same nine felony counts — and also pleading not guilty — were Joel Adam Hradecky, 22, and Joshua Stephen Kuhr-Jarman, 18. Kuhr-Jarman was released April 24 after serving less than two years for a 2004 knife attack on a soldier at the park. Corrections Department records list him as Joshua Stephen Kuhr.
According to court records, Hilliard told detectives she was with a group of Juggalos that attacked people at the park and stole their wallets and cellular telephones.
Barnum told detectives he hit two people during one robbery and later used a stolen cell phone to call an ex-girlfriend who lives on the East Coast, according to charging papers.